Applying to study a PhD is unlike applying for most other courses. Before you apply, please read all the information on our web site, including the information about writing your proposal.
How to apply
- Check you meet our eligibility criteria
- Contact the most appropriate prospective supervisor(s) to discuss your proposed research
- Write your research proposal
- Submit your application online, mentioning your proposed supervisor, and uploading your research proposal
- Either at the same time, or within two weeks, upload your supporting documents
When to apply
Our Doctoral Programme begins in October. Please apply before 30th June 2013 for October 2013 entry.
The first year of our programme contains a compulsory taught research training element so it is not possible to start at other times of the year.
Studying for your doctorate elsewhere?
If you wish to come to WBS as a Visiting Student, you must follow the same online application procedure as for full time applications, though the start date is more flexible. You will be charged 50% of the full-time fees if your attachment to WBS is longer than ten weeks.
Writing your proposal
We expect you to provide evidence of your ability to plan and organise independent research, and of the relevance of your research topic to the interest and expertise of a WBS academic who could supervise your study.
It's crucial that your research proposal is written to the guidelines specified. Don't risk getting yours rejected simply because you haven't read them.
Please provide approximately 2,000 words, plus your timetable and references or a short bibliography. We do not expect the proposal to be perfect at this stage, nor do we expect you to stick to it very closely as your ideas will almost certainly change once you start to study, but we do expect you to write it as follows:
- Provide an overview of your research question, explaining why it is of academic and or practical importance
- Outline the main objectives of your research, providing details of two or three key aspects
- Write a short literature review, indicating the importance of previous related research and how your own research question might make a useful contribution to the area
- State the main research techniques (interviews, case studies, modelling etc.) you might use
- Indicate your suggested data collection procedures and sources and outline any possible difficulties
- Explain any analytical techniques you intend to use
- Add your proposed timetable of activities.
Finally, list the references in your proposal or provide a short bibliography. Please organise your proposal under the following headings:
- Research question
- Literature reviews
- Research techniques
- References & bibliography
- Prospective supervisors.
There are three very common reasons why proposals from well qualified candidates fail to be accepted.
- The research topic is inadequately specified. You need to write to a very tight format stating what you plan to research, why and how. The format is clearly outlined above.
- The proposal may identify a practical managerial problem but it does not demonstrate its analytical importance. A study that merely aims to discover new empirical information or simply solve an important business problem will probably not be accepted. Your proposal must engage with controversies and demonstrate strong critical insight in one or more academic disciplines to succeed.
- The geographical focus does not fit with our supervisory competencies. While our perspective is international, some overseas students seek to study an issue exclusively in their home country in which our staff have no research expertise. If this is your intention, you must explain clearly why a supervisor at WBS will find your work interesting and how being at WBS will add value to your work. Generally, a comparative project that involves research both in your home country and the UK is more likely to achieve analytically significant results.